Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Chapman, Vera

(1898-1996) UK writer, civil servant and founder (1969) of the UK Tolkien Society. VC turned to writing professionally only in her seventies, when the markets for her favourite literature became accessible. The wife of a country vicar, she was for a while a practising Druid; and her interest in pagan Mythology drew her towards the Legend of Arthur, resulting in her first book, The Green Knight (1975), followed by The King's Damosel (1976) and King Arthur's Daughter (1976), all three assembled as The Three Damosels (omni 1978). A decade earlier than Marion Zimmer Bradley, VC brought a feminist (see Feminism) perception to the Arthurian myth, studying the events through the eyes of incidental or invented characters whose importance has (according to the tale) been deliberately masked to disguise their purpose as agents of Merlin to secure the Arthurian bloodline through his female descendants. VC brings the traditional Arthurian world keenly alive and places a new interpretation upon the standard events. VC returned to the Matter of Britain in Blaedud the Birdman (1978), about an early British king who learned to fly; again she invested a scant legend with character and conviction.

Her interests were not confined to ancient Britain, however. Two books were developed from Chaucer: The Wife of Bath (1979), which looks at The Canterbury Tales in a new light, and The Notorious Abbess (coll of linked stories dated 1997 [with copyright date 1993] but 1998 US; possibly a ghost title), about a nun at the time of the Crusades cursed/blessed with Talents. VC has also written two books for children, Judy and Julia (1977) and Miranty and the Alchemist (1983 US). VC's last novel was published posthumously: The Enchantresses (1998). [MA]

Vera May Chapman


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.